This is an intriguing question, especially because Yoga, Ayurveda’s Sister Science, has become increasingly popular in the West. There’s probably no one who hasn’t tried at least one Yoga pose by now and there are at least a million regular yogis who swear by its incredible effectiveness.
But why not Ayurveda, then?
The main reason is that, in the West, we’ve been conditioned to believe that illness and disease are inevitable and that there is nothing that can be done to prevent these. Instead, what we opt for are expensive treatments and therapies that suppress symptoms but do not do anything to address the root causes.
But why is that? Keep reading to find out.
Sometimes, Modern Western medications create as many or more problems than they solve, both for the short term and in the long run. Many patients aren't even aware that using holistic sciences as complementary medicine is an option, too, to help support their current Western Medicine treatments. Good things don’t always have to come with something bad.
What’s even more challenging is that it is embedded in mainstream culture to go by such a system even when you have access to traditional holistic sciences like Ayurveda. Also, since these indigenous sciences are worlds apart from what you’ve been used to, proper awareness hasn’t been raised to educate people on how to rely on traditional wellness systems like Ayurveda, as an alternative or even just as a complementary technique that may raise the quality of life.
But the story doesn’t end here...
With the coming of the Modern Age, around the latter half of the 18th century, Western sciences started taking over the mainstream medicine systems, kickstarted by the Industrial Revolution.
More people started following this system because it was backed by Science. But much more than that, the novelty of procedures and techniques in Western medicine system gave it an authority which sidelined most traditional, indigenous and alternate health systems, including Ayurveda.
The scientific breakthroughs, use of chemical compounds to cure diseases and the ability to restructure the human body peaked during this time. These advancements were also designed in a way to support instant gratification of consumers that doesn’t always have permanent results either. But much more than that, little attention was paid to holistic development, natural remedies and sustainable effects.
And wellness sciences like Ayurveda whose central focus is around such concepts, took a back seat.
Finally, by the end of the 20th century, much of Western medicine had become oriented around chemicals and this induced a desire to go back to the knowledge of the powers of nature. By this time, degradation of the environment spearheaded by such extensive use of chemicals was also being acknowledged. With the boom of Globalization, the world opened, and it became easier to procure information even from the remotest corners of the world.
All these prodded the chemical-weary population in the West to start seeking out more herbal, holistic and natural remedies and ingredients in the East which spiked curiosity, studies and further research in Ayurveda.
To understand this better, we need to look at how Ayurveda was brought from the East to the West.
Much of the Ayurvedic wellness science practiced in the West now owes its history to these 3 different phases, through which it was introduced:
In the early 1980s -
Charismatic spiritual leaders started popularizing Ayurveda as an alternate wellness system. It was during this time that the West saw the rise of Ayurveda as an alternate holistic science, after having been inspired by the Ayurvedic way of life in the East.
In the late 1990s –
Through Yoga teachers who believed Ayurveda would be an effective complimentary aid to physical health and natural wellness, Ayurveda started flourishing exponentially in this period. More and more people started experimenting with it too.
The recent boom
Ayurveda has grown steadily in the West in the past few decades. This can be attributed to a spiked interest in natural healing techniques, natural ingredients and holistic approaches to wellness that are sustainable, in the long run.
A remarkable thing to note about Ayurveda is that unlike South Asian culture, cuisine and dressing style that’s now popular in the West, the science of Ayurveda was not brought to the West by Asian immigrants. Instead, Europeans and other travelers from the West directly sought out this natural holistic science in the hopes that it would be a complimentary and reliable source of wellness.
No matter what the reason or the situation was, we see that Ayurveda gained popularity because its core theories and practices are built around nature and natural systems. But more than this, Western scholars were also impressed by other nuanced realms of Ayurveda too.
The appeal about Ayurveda was that it was a more grounded form of wellness science which was completely different from Western medicine in the following ways:
Functions of the body are analyzed in 3 different physio-psychological spheres in Ayurveda – Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
These constitutions are at the basis of every technique, procedure and recovery method prescribed in Ayurveda.
As it’s a wellness science, Ayurveda focuses on unique styles to approach common problems.
For example, most often, psychological problems like stress, depression and anxiety are traced back to gut problems in Ayurveda, along with other reasons.
Since it’s a holistic science, Ayurveda is an all-encompassing knowledge system and looks at the human body as a collective whole.
It doesn’t address one part or one issue in isolation.
Systematic and Natural
Ayurveda’s efficiency solely lies in the fact that it’s entirely derived from nature and mimics the human body’s natural tendency as much as possible.
For example, all Ayurvedic healing techniques focus to bring harmony in each person’s unique constitution or dosha type, which can eventually solve the issue.
This approach greatly systematizes the whole body of knowledge.
Health-oriented and not Disease-oriented
And most importantly, Ayurveda is health-oriented and not disease-oriented - This is the main factor that differentiates Ayurveda from Western medicine.
In Ayurveda, prevention is given prime importance and even curing always includes ways to prevent the problem in the first place.
These combined with the fact that Ayurveda uses 1700+ substances of botanical, faunal and mineral origin in 40,000 different formulae for internal consumption and for external application along with 50+ different rejuvenation and other health therapies opened rooms for a lot of experimentation in this field.
Ayurveda enthusiasts from the West also started realizing the importance of having a strong immune system grounded in nature, natural ingredients and holistic practices that have been central to Ayurveda all along. This further spiked a massive conversation surrounding Ayurveda, as a holistic wellness system and the need to go back to our roots.
The usual meaning of 'back to roots’ suggests ‘going back to nature’ and you may be surprised to see that when it comes to Ayurveda, this concept is addressed literally. In Ayurveda, a problem is treated from its root cause, and not just temporarily or superficially.
What’s even more fascinating is that Ayurveda is the only wellness system that views health in this way, i.e., arrive at a root-cause diagnosis.
Ayurveda is the only healthcare science in the world which connects the disease condition (Roga), its pathogenesis (Samprapti) and the patient (Rogi) in order to arrive at a root-cause diagnosis.
According to Ayurveda, the human system is designed to work at a biological rhythm. It is to maintain this biological rhythm that Ayurveda suggests such a refined method.
For example, dry skin is one of the most common skin issues that people of all ages face. And what does Western skin science prescribe for this? - to use a body lotion or cream. But did you know that most body lotions and creams only create a fine film-like layer that creates the illusion of moisturization? Yes!
Now, would you like to hear what Ayurveda has to say here?
Dry skin, in Ayurveda is seen as an imbalance of Vata dosha that contains the space and air elements. When Vata dosha gets aggravated, your skin tends to lose its moisture content, and this leads to drying up of skin layers causing dry and dehydrated skin. In extreme conditions, it may even make your skin look rough, ‘crepey’ and scaly too.
So, the remedy? Use herbal oils that are as close to sebum in texture and can penetrate deeply into your skin and activate from the inside.
Ayurveda advises to eat warm, moist and soft foods like berries, bananas, cooked vegetables and brown rice along with a steady intake of healthy oil-rich nuts and almonds, while avoiding dry foods like raw lettuce and processed foods like popcorn.
The current ‘Ayurvedic Renaissance’ we see in the beauty world is based exactly on this.
But, at the same time, Ayurveda lacks the overwhelming amount of data, clinical trials and scientific explanations that the Western science boasts.
Only if there was a way to bring the best of both together...
For all these reasons and more, scientists, medical researchers and thought leaders worldwide are now stating that the future of skincare and healthcare must move away from focusing on just treating the symptoms in isolation to treating the individual as a whole. From giving standardized, single prescription for all patients, treatments must take a more personalized approach.
The traditional holistic wellness system of Ayurveda has already been using this concept of personalized treatment protocol for thousands of years now! Given the current situation, the need for a more grounded life based on better mental health practices, methods of exercise and a suitable diet plan – or a more holistic approach to life, have never before been this crucial.
But the practice of Ayurveda isn’t as standardized as Modern Western sciences.
And this lack called for a New Approach in skincare, holistic health and natural wellness that uses herbal remedies but backed by scientific data.
All this doesn’t mean that there was no relationship between Ayurveda and Western science previously. However small it was, there has been a continuous give and take between both these systems of knowledge and together they have crossed different paths for over 400 years now.
With the advent of industrialization and the modern age, this transfer of knowledge started getting way easier. And thanks to technology and nuanced scientific methods, we have now created the threshold to merge the best of both worlds, Ayurveda and modern skin-science, to create this new brand, from the house of The Ayurveda Experience, that’s COMING VERY SOON!
Stay tuned for more updates!
But we have a few solutions that you might find helpful now!
Curious how you can replace the West’s scientific skincare inventions with 100% natural ones that are still effective?
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Replace your typical moisturizing creams which contain peptides and retinoids with: Balaayah Black Gram Body Booster, the ultimate ultra-rich moisturizing vegan body oil enriched with the goodness of Black Gram and Himalayan Rock Salt, to ensure you have velvety-smooth and silky skin with the dual effect of both hydration and moisturization.View Details
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